By Dillon Thomas
DENVER (CBS4) – The owner of a legal Denver marijuana operation told CBS4 his company was robbed of more than 70 pounds of marijuana worth more than $100,000.
Thieves hit Redeye Releaf, a grow operation on Santa Fe Drive, early Sunday morning.
“We were getting bombarded with messages, and emails, from our alarm system,” said Ryan Fowler, owner of Redeye Releaf.
Fowler told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas his dozens of security cameras and motion sensors helped him quickly understand what happened.
Just after 12:30 am, Fowler said two thieves entered the north entrance of his facility. In order to access the building properly, someone has to have an electronic key card. Only a few employees are given hard keys that access the doors.
“One of (the thieves) had an orange, or red, crowbar in their hand,” Fowler said. “(They) tried to make it appear like they were jimmying the door open.”
Fowler said, according to surveillance video, the crowbar was a distraction from what was actually happening. Video from another angle showed one of the thieves using what appeared to be a company-issued hard key to access the door.
“It is definitely an inside job,” Fowler said.
Fowler said that with few hard keys given out it was easy for him to narrow down who at least one of the thieves was.
He said all keys were accounted for, except two which were once checked out to recently-fired employees.
Fowler said he knew his business was hit hard when he arrived on scene.
“There was a big three-pound bag of weed on the ground,” Fowler said.
Video showed two suspects running straight for the company’s dry room, which houses already-bagged product.
“For about two minutes, you can see them kind of shoveling the product in to the bags,” Fowler said. “And then, they take off.”
Video from a nearby company showed a getaway car waiting for them was parked around the corner.
After getting a close look at the mannerisms of one of the thieves and the glasses he wore, Fowler believed one of the thieves was one of those recently-released employees.
Fowler said USDA regulations do not allow him to insure his product. He said the marijuana and the attached profits are lost. He also feared the thieves would not handle it properly.
“It is going to get in the hands of kids, or it will go where it doesn’t belong,” Fowler speculated.
Denver police were called to investigate.
Fowler said he had one message for the people who conducted the heist.
“You know who you are,” Fowler said. “You know the repercussions for it, and we have to follow the law.”
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.